Penfolds, Shiraz, RWT Bin 798, Barossa Valley, South Australia, 2015
This wine: lot No. L6321N22 (laser etched, below front label), bottle No. AD222, varietal syrah, fermented in opened topped stainless steel vat, fitted with a heading-down board to keep the cap submerged, then racked into new tightly grained French oak to complete fermentation; matured in French oak hogsheads (300 litres, 83% new, 17% seasoned 1 y.o) for 16 months, with periodic rack and return; long (50mm) coated natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, The Wine Society, £80 (01/20)
Consumer tasting note: this is Penfolds well established red wine-making trial or RWT, going since 1997. A pure syrah that has seen toasty new oak, with a strong character in all respects, intensity, concentration, complexity that keeps coming, and length, with a rich ripe profile of red and black berries and fruits, spice, toast and vanilla, black olive, earth, cedar and warm black liquorice. Finishes resoundingly long.
Drink now – RTD, and will continue to improve over the next 4-7 years, and keep longer – Wait. Keep upright for a week, then decant off the sediment immediately before serving, and simply savour over 30 minutes or so, as the bouquet unfurls.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears [a tiny quantity of fine sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of slightly lifted red plum, black berry, richer black cherry, smoky, spicy, cedar, candle wax, earthy, black olive, hints of cardamom then cumin, red plum juice, low-key toast but increasing in strength with a little time, on vigorous swirling a whiff of vanilla, defrosted strawberry with a creamy lactic edge, warm black liquorice, and after some time, a hint of tobacco on a drying glass.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe fine grained medium tannins, high alcohol, full body, pronounced intensity, a silky smooth texture, with flavours of ripe black cherry, fragrant squashed black berry, black currant liqueur, black olive, developing hint of black liquorice, cedar, hint of vanilla. A long (>50s) length with a clean finish of of black cherry leading to black olive with black currant edged with black liquorice right on the end.
Quality: outstanding, perfectly balanced fresh(ish) acidity and fine grained middling tannins with the quite warming alcohol, which though apparent, does not stick out, and seems to recede a tad as the rich flavours develop (a food wine); a strong intensity throughout, with similar concentration of rich ripe flavours; showing a high level of complexity, with evidence of time in at least some percentage of medium toasted new oak (cedar, cumin, smoke, spice, toast, vanilla), which is integrating well whilst adding a pleasant toastiness, fruit development (defrosted strawberry), and tertiary development (black olive, cedar, earth, wax). Finishes resoundingly long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for improvement, over say 4-7 years, and will keep longer – a sound acid-tannin structure, with tannins twixt medium and medium (+); and ticking all the boxes for strong intensity and concentration, resoundingly long length, and a burgeoning complexity entering tertiary territory, with plenty of rich ripe fruit and the toasty element to develop.